When seeking to choose the most advanced cable TV package to suit the needs of you and your family, two of the largest service providers may be at the top of your list: Frontier Communications FiOS® TV and Xfinity® TV by Comcast. Both providers offer a wide array of services and many similar offerings; however, there are different considerations to keep in mind when selecting a provider for your home.
Comcast, and its Xfinity offering, is one of the largest providers of pay TV services across the United States. In general, Xfinity services are provided over cable. There may be future fiber services provided through Xfinity by Comcast. Frontier Communications was originally a much smaller corporation in rural areas in the country; however, Frontier has grown spectacularly and acquired Verizon consumers. FiOS services by Frontier are generally delivered over fiber-optic cable.
These two leading services have many pros and cons to consider when determining which company is best suited to your needs. Below, we review a few key features to keep in mind when selecting a provider.
Xfinity focuses on providing strong options and packages for sports fans, including live channels for pro sports leagues as well as college competitions. MLB EXTRA INNINGS is part of Xfinity's sports options and subscribers have access to a wide array of pay-per-view events, such as UFC or boxing matches.
On the other hand, Frontier FiOS plans focus more on entertainment and movie channels, including FLiX and TMC, while many subscribers access local and regional sports channels. Top-tier content on FiOS focuses more on the best and latest in television and movies.
Customer Service and Support
In general, cable television companies receive a fairly significant number of customer complaints, partially due to the nature of the service and the inconvenience caused by service interruption; this is a fact to keep in mind when examining customer service reviews of pay-TV providers.
Xfinity and Comcast have a low satisfaction ranking score, even among pay television providers in the United States; while XFINITY's score is 54, the average in the industry is 63, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Consumer Affairs' star rankings mark Xfinity with one out of five stars. However, the company has recently invested $300 million into a huge customer-service upgrade, which can be expected to show results in the near future.
On the other hand, FiOS by Frontier also has a Consumer Affairs star rating of one out of five. Frontier doesn't currently have an ACSI rating, and after the recent Verizon acquisitions in several major states, there have been a significant number of online complaints. However, these complaints may be tied to confusion caused by service transition and could be expected to improve following an adjustment period.
You can cancel an Xfinity subscription via phone, email or regular mail. When you call over the phone, the customer support and retention division will discuss potential options before disconnecting your service. There are early termination fees associated with the cancelation of an Xfinity contract; however, these vary depending on your current plan, the length of the contract and could potentially be waived depending on the reason for the termination.
Similarly, FiOS customers at Frontier Communications also pay an early termination fee of up to $360 for cancelling their contracts early. Again, these fees could be decreased or waived depending on individual circumstances or the timing of the contract.
On Demand on Xfinity includes thousands of free titles as part of your base subscription price. There are also some movies or shows that are made available with an additional rental fee. In addition, you can subscribe to specific On Demand channels for a monthly cost, including Disney programming or fitness channels.
Frontier FiOS also offers thousands of free On Demand titles and many more with a small rental fee. On Demand options are searchable by category, like "movies" or "kids," to target specific programming types. On Demand shows can also have parental controls applied to them to determine what kids can access.
Contracts and Installation
Xfinity has an installation fee; however, this fee can be reduced or eliminated entirely when customers make use of Comcast's kits for self-installation. There are a variety of contract options available, including no-minimum options with no early termination fee. Longer contracts, however, usually allow users to have lower monthly bills.
On the other hand, Frontier subscribers' installation fees vary depending on the service area or the type of subscription selected. A standard activation fee is approximately $49, but other services can elevate that price to $89 or higher. However, there are other plans that waive installation and activation fees for new subscribers. In general, most Frontier plans involve a two-year contract.
One of the most popular Xfinity bundle offerings is the Digital Starter plan. This package includes over 140 channels and a one-year contract, and has a monthly fee of $44.99 for a 12-month period. Another, higher, option is the Digital Preferred plan. This package costs $54.99 monthly for the first 12 months and a one-year contract, and includes 220 channels. There are a wide array of other Xfinity options available as well.
Frontier options include FiOS TV Prime HD, which starts at $71.99 monthly for the first 12 months. It includes over 240 channels, among those 65 HD channels. The top-line Ultimate HD plan costs $93.99 per month for the first 12 months. It includes over 360 channels, including premium channels like HBO and Showtime.
Both providers offer ways of bundling your TV, internet and telephone services into one package that saves money over the individual costs of each of these services.
Xfinity offers multiple options to bundle these offerings. Starter XF Triple Play includes over 140 channels, internet with speeds of up to 75 Mbps, and domestic and international telephone calls. This plan begins at $89.99 for 12 months on a two-year contract. Additional higher TV service options are also available. Xfinity also offers "Double Play" packages with television and internet; HBO is included for the first 12 months, and these packages begin at $69.99 for the first 12 months on a two-year contract.
Similarly, FiOS offers Triple Play options that include FiOS TV, internet and voice beginning at $99.99 for the first 12 months on a two-year contract. This package includes over 240 channels, internet at speeds of up to 50 Mbps and unlimited U.S. calls. Double Play options for TV and Internet service begin at $84.99 for the first 12 months.
Both brands are constantly revising options, features and offering discounts for new customers, many of which are region-specific. You can check their websites for the latest offerings and use this guide to help you determine the best fit for you.
NOTE: Pricing and speeds are subject to change, and may vary depending on your home area. Enter your ZIP code into our broadband comparison tool to view current plans.
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